The impact of acculturation and human capital on the information search process of immigrant consumers

Arbelaez, J 2010, The impact of acculturation and human capital on the information search process of immigrant consumers, Masters by Research, Economics, Finance and Marketing, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The impact of acculturation and human capital on the information search process of immigrant consumers
Author(s) Arbelaez, J
Year 2010
Abstract This study examines the impact of acculturation and human capital on the degree of external information search among recently arrived immigrants when selecting a service provider. The variables ‘acculturation’, ‘human capital’, ‘perceived risk’, ‘involvement’, ‘degree of external information search’, ‘satisfaction with the decision made’ and ‘willingness to recommend’ (the service provider) are included in the analysis. The main interest is to examine the application of acculturation and human capital theory to the information search process. Prior research on acculturation has considered variables such as language and length of time in the host country to measure the acculturation level of immigrants. However, these studies have used single variables and have not been rigorously tested. The present study uses a measurement instrument developed in psychology which measures acculturation through four dimensions: assimilation, separation, integration and marginalisation. Human capital was measured in a broader sense than has been done in previous studies. Past research has measured human capital through prior knowledge, perceived ability and market knowledge separately, but an integrative approach has not been empirically tested. This study considers all three aspects when measuring the human capital of recently arrived immigrants. The majority of acculturation studies have been conducted in the United States with Hispanic populations and little research has been done in Australia, despite the significant immigrant population. Thus, this research examines the level of acculturation and the human capital of recently arrived immigrants and the influence of these variables on the external information search process when selecting a service provider. A paper-based self-administered survey was conducted using a random sample of 153 immigrants. It was hypothesised that the degree of external information search would be influenced by acculturation, human capital, perceived risk, and involvement. In addition, human capital and involvement would affect perceived risk. Finally, it was hypothesised that the degree of external information search would influence satisfaction with the decision made, which in turn would lead to willingness to recommend.

Internal reliabilities were assessed to determine construct validity, obtaining acceptable Alpha coefficients. The proposed scales were assessed first by using exploratory factor analysis to examine the dimensionality of the constructs, and then by using confirmatory factor analysis to check the discriminant validity. Furthermore, a regression analysis was conducted to test the hypothesised relationships. Finally, structural equation modelling was used to analyse the interrelationships among the hypotheses and a series of t-tests were conducted to determine the differences within each construct.

The results indicate that acculturation positively influences the degree of external information search undertaken by immigrants. Human capital also has a positive influence on the degree of external information search as does involvement. Further, the degree of acculturation has a positive effect on the level of human capital. Finally, satisfaction has a positive effect on the willingness to recommend. This study contributes to the body of knowledge related to the information search process of immigrant consumers, by conceptualising and empirically testing to the influence of acculturation and human capital on the degree of external information search for a service provider. Furthermore, this research has marketing implications for organisations interested in targeting this growing segment of the population.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Economics, Finance and Marketing
Keyword(s) Acculturation
Human capital
Information search
Immigrants
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Created: Fri, 10 Dec 2010, 09:34:51 EST
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